Jacques Cavallier Belletrud, the maître perfumer for Louis Vuitton first released the French luxury brand’s perfume collection — a range of seven scents — designed for women in September 2016. Two years later, Vuitton and Belletrud decided to focus on creating male scents, which Belletrud has worked on since 2013. The bottles are similar to the women’s designs — they are purposefully label-less because Belletrud strongly believes that scents are sexless.
While the women scents get top points for its unique olfactory presence, they are designed as crowd-pleasers. The masculine scents are less predictable and more experimental. Those with a conservative nose may be inclined toward L’Immensite, which leans toward sportier hints of bitter grapefruit, ginger, labdanum and high content of ambroxan — a woodier and animalistic scent.
Another versatile yet complex citrus scent (which was actually Belletrud’s most challenging concoction), is Sur la Route. It’s infused with cédrat, an unconventional ingredient for perfumery which explains the scent’s bitterness. Belletrud’s desire to create contrasting perfumes inspired Sur la Route which successfully balanced the sharp acidity of the citron top note with the soft intensity of Peruvian balsam.
As a native of Grasse, the world capital of perfume on the French Riviera, Belletrud started his career when he was only 16. He is a walking olfactory encyclopedia and has a perfect nose. While creating the range of Vuitton’s scents, he was on the hunt for 100% natural oud. The fourth-generation perfumer enquired with all his working partners in Grasse for 100% natural oud and it took him about two years to finally find the perfect one.
Oud is one of the key ingredients present in Nouveau Monde, and Belletrud first conceived the idea for Nouveau Monde in Guatemala, eating Mayan chocolates. The first whiff of Nouveau Monde is definitely oud, but later, the cocoa takes over with a tender whiff of sweetness. On a skin test, Nouveau Monde was also ranked the scent that was the longest wearing in the collection.
Those addicted to the sensuality of woody scents particularly with hints of patchouli would also lean towards Orage as it has a natural woody blend mixed with iris. Au Hasard is another wood-based winner. This mysterious and risqué scent embodies the olfactory qualities of Indian sandalwood (which is unattainable only to Louis Vuitton as they bought over the sustainable farm in India), with spicy additions of cardamom mix and the fruity gentleness of ambrette.
But those looking for a top-notch woody scent will gravitate towards Louis Vuitton’s new Middle East exclusive scent, Ombre Nomade. Launched in August, Ombre Nomade is sourced using the best available oud Assam from a sustainable family-run plantation in Bangladesh. The agar wood from the plantation has been farmed and developed for centuries, which is why Ombre Nomade boasts a deep and intoxicating oud scent. But the magic of this scent is the addition of raspberry which balances the smoky intensity with an unexpected lightness.
Les Parfums Louis Vuitton collection for men is now available all Louis Vuitton Singapore boutiques. Prices start from S$370 for a 100ml bottle.